Villarreal draw in Zürich (1-1) so qualification for the next round comes down to the last day in Group L
Villarreal came up short on their visit to the Letzigrund stadium with a bittersweet draw (1-1), that takes qualification for the next round of the Europa League down to the last day in Group L, as Steaua beat Osmanlispor (2-1). The Yellows started the match brilliantly, putting in a great performance in the first half and looking well in control, but the second came with an unexpected comeback by the locals. Now the Submarine must win against Steaua Bucuresti at the El Madrigal stadium on Thursday 8th December (5pm CET). The Yellows fate is in their own hands.
Both teams came out well. Knowing what was at stake, Villarreal and Zürich were both well organized and intense from the off. The Yellows, however, were soon dominating: in the 7th minute, Pato played a great ball through to Cheryshev, and the Russian set up an unmarked Bakambu, but his shot went just wide of the post.
Villarreal had their game plan down and were creating chance after chance. In the 12th minute Cheryshev came close with a shot and the ball went out for a corner. Then, captain Bruno Soriano rose high above the crowd in the box to head home Trigueros’ pinpoint corner kick. 0-1.
Escribá’s side’s best chance of the game came in the 39th minute. It was a miracle that the ball did not end up in Vanins’ goal. A goal-line scramble in the box saw the Submarine have three shots in a row, by Pato, Cheryshev and Bakambu, but not one found the back of the net.
In the second half the intense and dominant Submarine came out the same. In the 52nd minute Bakambu took advantage of a Zürich defensive mistake, intercepting the ball and putting it on a plate for Pato, but the Brazilian’s shot went just high and wide of the far top corner. Eight minutes later Bakambu approached Vanins’ goal again, he tried to take the ball around the Zürich goalkeeper but Vanins was equal to it and parried the Congolese’s shot.
With ten minutes to go the match took a turn for the worst for Villarreal. Rodríguez had a great long range shot that hit the upright and shortly after Zürich were awarded a penalty. With four minutes left on the clock, it was Roberto Rodríguez again, this time he made no mistake from the penalty spot.
The show goes on. Qualification to the next round coming down to Match day 6 in the Group stage of the Europa League.
FC Zúrich: Vanins; Bangura, Kecojevic, Alain Nef; Brunner (Roberto Rodríguez, 69’), Marchesano, Sarr, Kukeli (Sadiku, 78’), Voser (Winter, 69’); Koné and Schönbächler.
Villarreal CF: Asenjo; Rukavina, Musacchio, Víctor Ruiz, José Ángel; Bruno, Trigueros, Jonathan dos Santos, Cheryshev (Castillejo, 70’); Pato (Sansone, 77’) and Bakambu (Rodrigo, 81’).
Goals: 0-1, min. 13: Bruno. 1-1, min. 86: Roberto Rodríguez (penalty).
Referee: Davide Massa (Italy). Cautioned: Víctor Ruiz (22’) and Rukavina (89’) for Villarreal and Brunner (30’) and Marchesano (89’) for Zúrich.
Match information: Matchday 5 in the Group stage of the UEFA Europa League between FC Zúrich and Villarreal CF played at the Letzigrund stadium in Zúrich in front of 10.069 spectators.